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US coronavirus death toll reaches 19; New York declares emergency – Al Jazeera English

At least 19 people have now died in the United States from the coronavirus as the virus spread to 30 states with the latest of the hundreds of confirmed cases nationwide reported in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and New York.

The latest deaths were reported in Florida on Saturday, involving two people in their 70s, while Washington, DC registered its first case.

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On Saturday, New York became the latest state to declare an emergency as the number of those infected by the virus rose to 89.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said on Saturday that a man in his 50s tested positive for coronavirus in Washington, DC. Another person – also in his 50s and living in Nigeria – who travelled through the city, has also tested positive in Maryland, Bowser said.

Jennifer Smith, who leads Washington’s public health laboratory, said officials had the capability to test about 50 patients per day. The district has also ordered more than 42,000 masks to be delivered to the district’s fire and emergency medical workers, officials said. 

Virginia recorded its first case on Saturday when a US Marine stationed at Fort Belvoir was found to have the virus.

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To contain the epidemic, concerts, festivals and other public events have been cancelled across the US.

Grand Princess to dock

Meanwhile, the Grand Princess, a coronavirus-stricken US cruise ship, has been given permission to dock in Oakland, California, the tour operator said in a statement on Saturday.

“Grand Princess will proceed to the Port of Oakland on Sunday to begin disembarking guests who require acute medical treatment and hospitalisation,” the Princess Cruises tour company said.

“Guests who are California residents will go to a federally operated facility within California for testing and isolation, while non-Californians will be transported by the federal government to facilities in other states.”

The vessel, which has been stranded off the California coast for four days, recorded 21 cases on board, including 19 crew and two American passengers.

Trump ‘not concerned’

Maryland officials warned that a person who attended the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in the suburb of Oxon Hill had tested positive for the virus.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the conference.

The White House said there was no indication that either had met or were in “close proximity” to the infected attendee.

Asked whether he was worried about the virus getting closer to the White House, Trump said he was “not concerned at all”.

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